“Made for India” is increasingly becoming a coveted tag these days. This is a far cry from the early days of liberalisation when many companies came in with their older (often discontinued ) models with a misplaced confidence that Indian consumers were just waiting to lap it up . But a rude shock awaited them with them the harsh truth that Indian consumers were as discerning as their counterparts in the other parts of the world . Even luxury brands like Merc have learnt their lessons and today their product portfolio has their latest offering, learning from theirhard experience of consumer rejecting the initial model which was being used mostly as a taxi in New york, though it will be a long time before they start thinking about making cars for specifically Indians.
This interest of developing products specifically for Indian market has been around for some years now, though with the global financialturmoil we might be one of those few countries with any growth left. One company which has done this seriously is and achieved substantial success in India is Nokia. Nokia1100 was one of its first mobiles to designed exclusively for Indian markets. The torch light , unique grip were introduced specifically to cater to the specific needs of Indian consumers, weather and usage. The latest is the proposed introduction of ‘ Nokia Life Tools’ service would be an additional service with focus on e-mail, agriculture and education which would enhance its standing in the Indian market.
Coming back to automobiles, we have been waiting for a long time for the Toyota Indian car, but the company is taking its own time to come up with it. Latest is MUL which says it will come up with a its first made in India car by 2010-11 and ford has also been planning to come up with a small car for both Indian as well as export markets. And Nano has brought a lot of interest in low cost cars and many companies want to develop such cars for the Indian market.
We have come a full circle of days when people spoke about only global products to localisation to developing products exclusively for a market, in the next part we will look at a few more examples of MNCs which had to develop products exclusively for Indian markets…
Continuing on the same theme of my previous post, other companies which have developed products exclusively for Indian markets,
FritoLay’s – When it initially introduced it’s international range of products and flavors in the Indian market it faced a lot of resistance from consumers. Infact it was Haldrirams which beat it the game very easily and it was not untill they came up with Indian flavors and variants that they could succeed. No guesses on their most successful ‘made for India’ product – Kurkure . The company developed the product exclusively for Indian markets after studying the snack consumption habits and preferences of consumers.
HUL-This could easily be ranked among the most famous examples of achieving success through this strategy – the sucess of wheel . Though it will not fit into the traditional sense of designing a product for a market because HUL was forced to develop this flanker brand to counter the attack by Nirma. But even then it was a product they developed exclusively for the Indian market and went on to become a huge success, today the Brand contributes to almost half of the turnover in their laundry business. And it has been extended to other developing markets also.
Gillette – In India Gillette had to develop a product exclusively for Indian consumers based on usage habits. The fact that many of their twin blades were not doing well in Indian markets made the company think on the possible reasons and they observed that most of us do not use running water while shaving , reason primarily being shortage of water or running water. And when the twin blades were used in mugs it lead to the problems of hair getting stuck in between them, So the company when was developing a exclusive product for Indian market came up with the idea of creating a pushing mechanism which could be used to push the hair out called ‘push-clean, anti-clogging’. The product which they developed exclusively for Indian market was Vector Plus, for which they made unpreicdented amount of investment into R&D, product development and marketing.
I will try to add to this list later as when I remember more examples, but will look forward to addition to it by readers too….